Groundhog Day is an awesome movie! Though for almost every working adult, reliving the same monotonous daily routines is standard practice.
Breakfast. Commute. Work. More work. Maybe some overtime…also known as more work. Commute. Kiss the kids on their forehead as they are already asleep. Dinner. Bed, Repeat. Day after day, after long bloody day. In this post, you will understand the three important decisions to consider when relocating for lifestyle.
The weekend comes. Your kids are excited to see you, but you want some downtime to decompress by yourself. You know that your children are dying for more attention than what you are willing to give. I get it. All too well.
I genuinely believe this is where the idea of “living the dream” on a Caribbean island comes from. To escape the current monotonous realities and everyday stress that families live through, for something a little more enjoyable and less responsible.
There has to be a better way to live, right?…. Well, yeah!
Twenty-one years ago this month, I died from a massive asthma attack. The lungs exploded and collapsed. Then, according to the explanation given after waking up a week later in ICU and being removed from Life support, I went into cardiac arrest and was gone.
At the time, I avoided my young adult happiness until my early thirties. Or should I say, I lied to myself that I was happy. Then, I had the “come-to-Jesus” moment, which ripped me from grinding hours of an ungrateful system. Retrospectively, it was a silver lining I give thanks to every November during Thanksgiving.
In 2001, my wife and I created an escape from L.A. plan. To begin, we had to avoid falling back into the same trap and had to think differently. The idea was to reverse engineer what we wanted to enjoy as a lifestyle and build backward from there.
Our focus was on leaving the city life behind and living a lifestyle in a location we love through real estate. For us, it is small resort towns where most people escape the monotony to enjoy their 2 weeks vacation only before heading back to the grind of work, stress, traffic, smog, etc. We wanted the lifestyle 52 weeks a year.
Over the last twenty years, we have moved villages, towns, cities, states, countries, and continents with the same framework as a guide. From relocation to owning a second home for living a seasonal lifestyle, it would be good to learn through our early mistakes. Since then, we have helped guide hundreds of families to locate the lifestyle they love by our system of reverse-engineering the approach through Kealink.com. This works for almost everyone, no matter their life stage.
Following is a quick overview of how to Reverse Engineer your lifestyle in a location you love.
Living a lifestyle is based around the outdoor activities you like to enjoy with family and friends such as Beach, Ski, Golf, Lakes, Mountains, Desert, Farm & Ranch, and of course, Yachting/Boating.
There are additional activities within the location you may want if you have kids, such as football, baseball, tennis, ice hockey, etc., though those can be found in most places.
For example, we moved from Park City, Utah, after living our lifestyle of skiing, hiking, and mountain biking for nine years. The kids had great schools, and the town had incredible events and nightlife for locals and tourists alike year-round.
As younger adults, we lived on a rock in the middle of the Caribbean for eight years before the kids. Beach, diving, boating, bars, and avoiding responsibility was the concept. We learned from that experience that unless you create some type of business or service, the days can quickly become monotonous. This time though, we started a business around a lifestyle. It was a complete reversal of being overworked as my 80 hour weeks in the studio system of Paramount Studios and Sony.
So in 2005, I entered Lifestyle Real Estate selling the Caribbean lifestyle. Beach homes. Golf course properties, private islands.
Twenty-one years later, after the come to Jesus moment, we now live a few minutes from the beach, moving from Park City to Delray Beach, Florida. Our focus was to move from shoveling snow and cold temperatures 5 months a year to the beach life and easier access to other parts of the Caribbean and Europe. Relocating the business to the beach life was a pretty easy decision too. Surfing for the kids, boating, and maybe some golf for us. Of course, the shopping and restaurants on Atlantic Avenue and surrounding areas are fun.
You see….activities you enjoy on vacation are often the ones you would likely want if you moved from the city. It’s just figuring out the income side of things…Obviously, this has become easier as remote work has been successful for many who have relocated. Even commuting for the weekends if necessary, can be worth the change.
For in-depth details and the due diligence needed for each location and activity, click here.
This is where the real work begins. You are likely looking to live a lifestyle based on your life stage as well. Primarily that would mean do you have kids? If so, what age? Elementary, High School, or College? With the latter, you’ve become an empty nester, and it’s a little easier. However, if you still have kids living under your roof, the quality of schools available, whether private or public, will carry weight. Retirement? Well, it’s easier again.
I will not go down the rabbit hole regarding the dynamics to consider like traffic, gentrification flows, community interests, schools, amenities, or even political structure when it comes to lifestyle locations. Just know that the location you choose should be where you see yourself creating the most beautiful lifelong memories with as little B.S as possible.
Understanding there are gorgeous locations all across the United States. However, there are two main regions where most lifestyle activities are sought after.
As you could well imagine, it is based on sun, snow, or access to large bodies of water. However, some areas do combine all three. First is the Sunbelt of the United States. That would be the states from southern California to Florida, also known as the 36th parallel. The other region is the Rocky Mountain states from Montana to New Mexico, with Colorado, Idaho, and Utah being the most popular.
Small resort townships, whether you are 8-feet above sea level, or 8,000 feet, usually provide an excellent lifestyle for the entire family, though there is another aspect to keep under consideration; can you handle the seasonality? Many people can, especially in the service-oriented industries of the town. They love the shoulder seasons between cold and hot months that give them well-deserved downtime from the influx of tourists.
Unfortunately, other locations only have a five-month window of busy tourist seasons, and the rest of the year, it is as slow as molasses. This is often why many real estate buyers are second homeowners and only use their property during the season they enjoy most.
For more information on the most incredible lifestyle states, click here.
Yes. There is such a thing. This dilemma can be anywhere from overpricing, tight inventory to competitive negotiations. However, it can be overcome with a little patience and authentic, real-world advice from a boots-on-the-ground point person. This is where you need honest guidance and advice from a top real estate advisor in their location to help you navigate these dynamic and segmented lifestyle markets.
NOTE: Avoid agents who are not in the top 4% in the localized market, especially looking for the luxury lifestyle.
I explain more in another article here.
Piecing it all together will be the challenge.
Why do I say “challenge”? Well, in lifestyle markets, there has always been a supply and demand issue. Ever since the 1960’s, lifestyle locations and the activities enjoyed by residents and tourists have grown.
Obviously, 2020 threw a wrench into the works as the migration from big cities to markets that provide more space and fewer people only added fuel to the fire. Increased home prices, busier locations, lagging infrastructure with the quick influx of people, and the demand for more of, well, everything has become the new challenge.
That being said, the right home can be the most challenging thing to find. Therefore, if you are looking at relocation, you ought to limit your search area to residential surroundings, especially if you have school-age children as schools overflow.
Having peace from the transient nature and distorted energy of vacationers from all walks of life is a must-have as a resident. Therefore, you ought to consider investing in a home away from tourist hotspots. Of course, I am not saying 30 minutes away. But, even 5 minutes can be enough of a buffer between your peace of mind and the focal point of tourist hotspots.
If you are looking at a seasonal second home, then you have more options. For example, you may not need to have a ski-in property when a residential home closer to amenities works better without the price tag. Or you may not need to be directly on the coast, with your yacht in the marina, when something inter-coastal property may work just as well. You can lock up and leave your property for a property manager to take care of relatively easily.
The ugly side of this lifestyle migration movement to smaller resort towns is the increase of agents. It was terrible in 2007, but good lord, it is so much worse. A few years ago, I pulled information across various locations and found that one person is licensed for every 5.6 residents you meet. Even your brother’s ex-wife’s boyfriend’s red-headed stepchild who just got licensed is helping people buy or sell multi-million dollar lifestyle properties.
Interestingly, a buyer would rather risk tens of thousands of dollars or more, trusting someone without the experience and longevity in the world of lifestyle real estate. Or if a buyer is not conducting reasonable due diligence, such as considering a family member, friend, or the first agent they speak with. You will likely never know the expense of using a sub-par agent until after the transaction is complete. Still, people complain of overspending $200 on dinner. But that’s a joke for another day.
The dilemma continues when homes get multiple offers. But oddly enough, what gets frustrating is when Zillow or any other real estate portal tells you that a property is available, only to find out later it hasn’t been for a couple of days, whether by the delay caused by computers or humans. It can be disheartening.
We believe 96% of agents don’t cut it with lifestyle real estate in lifestyle locations which in all essence have become luxury markets. Having an average, run-of-the-mill agent helping you buy or sell a home in a suburban or metro area is standard practice. However, real estate in dynamic and segmented locations requires a top advisor.
Using a top lifestyle advisor vetted from the top 4% in the local market will have the inside track on properties not yet on the market while navigating unforeseen challenges. In addition, they will give incredible market knowledge and top-tier negotiation skills. But most importantly, top advisors will have a network of top colleagues, no matter the brokerage to share information with, upcoming off-market listings, and more. This is not the time to accept just any person with a license.
I cannot stress this enough in lifestyle markets of how important it is to give yourself a leading edge into the market. Once you have a shortlist of locations, it is time to seek vetted representation and use their local knowledge to peer down any confusion.
For additional information about how our services can help, with no obligation, please visit www.kealink.com.
Don’t forget to learn about the top 5 things real estate agents won’t tell you; click here.
Andrew Storms is a 16-year expert in Lifestyle Real Estate. After 8 years with the #1 Engel & Volkers office in the world, he now resides in South Florida with Engel & Volkers Delray Beach. Andrew is the Founder of Kealink.com, author of “Castle to Kingdom” and has been featured on HGTV, USA Today, Wealth TV, and House Hunters International.